Let’s focus on the real culprit in the “robocalling” affair.

 In what can only be called hysteria we see people going simply apoplectic about the revelations that fraudulent dials were used in the last federal election. The reason the reaction to this is so strong is twofold. The Liberals under Rae are so profoundly weak that they need anything to try and capture the attention of the public thus they will grasp at anything they see as a possible thread to exploit (the NDP are not far behind).  The other reason that people are so worked up is that electoral fraud is a terribly serious issue.

 Right off the start in the race to point fingers we saw people attacking Matt Meier from RackNine Inc. The National Post even used a couple of Matt’s facebook pictures from what appear to be vacations to try and portray him as some sort of political jetsetter. Let’s get this straight. Matt is simply a young business man who provided a service that was abused by a client. Blaming Matt and RackNine for what happened is akin to blaming a car dealership for selling a car that was later used in a bank robbery. I have known Matt for a few years through politics and he has never demonstrated anything but principled business practices.

 I think perhaps that some people don’t fully understand how modern dialing works and how the service provider does not know what goes out. Dialing has become much cheaper (as we can see with the mass influx of calls in the last few years). This is due to leaps in communications technology and user interface that allows for essentially self-serve service.

 I have used RackNine in both provincial and civic applications ( for legitimate and legal though perhaps annoying use). The process is very simple. After having set up an account, you can set up your dial online. You upload your list, set up the time and type of dial and record your message through the phone with a touch-tone interface. After that it all happens through the magic of automation and you never directly interact with the owner/operator while setting up the dial (unless harassing for tech support 😉 ). I can’t imagine how many dials were set up during the federal election but it simply isn’t reasonable to expect that Matt would know the content of a few if any of the dials. That is not his role.

 It looks like the fraudulent dialing may indeed have impacted one of the ridings in Eastern Canada to the point where the result is in question. It was won by less than 30 votes and yes I think it is plausible that a dial misdirecting people could swing the vote by that much. If this is proven to be the case, I would like to see the person/people directly responsible criminally charged and a by-election held in that riding. This is extremely serious business and there sould be zero tolerance for tampering in an election.

 It will not make it easier to identify and prosecute the real culprits here if we remain focused on the service provider however. Matt has demonstrated that he is fully cooperating with every aspect of the investigation. His reputation and business is on the line. We want to see people punished for this but let’s not let innocent business folks get dragged through the mud that an unprincipled client created.

3 thoughts on “Let’s focus on the real culprit in the “robocalling” affair.

  1. No way does does Matt get off the hook. As someone who did a lot of dials in Canada before racknine even existed I went to a lot of trouble to ensure that our selfserve tool had a users agreement that you had to accept before you were allowed to dial. Does racknine? I understand they do not. If they do not then they are responsible for what went through the system….that simple.
    When we set up our system we thought long and hard about this stuff, if he did not then he deserves to be charged and prosecuted because he did not tell people what the rules were. It is because of people like him crushing the reputation of autodials that I have effectivly got out of the biz.

  2. An even better solution, beyond the criminal charges and by-election, would be to remove the exemption to the Do Not Call legislation, for political parties and candidates; In short, parties/candidates have to have permission thru either membership of acceptance of “do you wish to be notified by phone of any updates to our campaign”. Then in the event that a party or candidate cannot substantiate permission for the phone numbers they upload (again putting the onus of accuracy on the party not the public), they are fined a min of $1000/number, plus, if persistent in their abuse, they are disqualified from the election, either prior to the ballot or after the fact.

  3. I Dunno, from my experience every dirty vote scam has a liberal source. I recall being a scrutineer in a DT Edmonton riding and seeing people entered on the voting list twice – once at their home address and the other their business address in the riding – and they wondered how the magic liberal always pulled a victory out of their ass when the returns had them down by a 100 ballots or so after polls closed then by an overnight recount they won by 100 votes or so.

    The Liberal political network has perfected electoral dirty tricks, look no further for your culprets.

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